Spring training: Giants (ss) 7, Royals (ss) 0
John Bowker made his claim to earn a spot on the opening day roster by belting two home runs and driving in all seven runs in the Giants 7-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Bowker now has four home runs this spring and 18 RBI, the most in the majors.
Yet, as opening day approaches, Bowker still finds himself as the guy without a spot on the club.
With the Giants looking like they’ll break camp with 12 pitchers, it leaves five bench spots available. One will go for the backup catcher (Buster Posey or Eli Whiteside), a backup first baseman (Travis Ishikawa), a backup infielder (Matt Downs) and two backup outfielders.
But with the Giants leaning toward speedy Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez, there appears to be no spot left for Bowker. The most vulnerable player in the starting lineup in RF Nate Schierholtz. Torres and Velez can play RF. The Giants don’t think Bowker can do that. The ability for Torres and Velez to play all three OF positions, plus Velez’s ability to play 2B, make them more attractive options. Bowker can also play 1B, but so can Aubrey Huff, Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval, Mark DeRosa or even Posey.
“We know Johnny can hit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s a great bat there. It’s a matter of what’s going to fit best for the ball club. The ball is jumping off his bat, but there are other things to consider.”
Not encouraging words for Bowker. It’s curious, though, that a team with such offensive deficiencies as the Giants have can’t find a place on the roster of a good bat.
On Wednesday, Bowker had a two-run double in the second, a solo home run in the fourth and a grand slam in the sixth.
Inside the box score
Travis Ishikawa was 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
Buster Posey was 2 for 3 with two runs scored
Todd Wellemeyer looks to further lock down the No. 5 starter job when he gets the start at 7:05 p.m. Thursday against the Oakland A’s. The game will be carried live on MLB Network.